Tourism businesses are kicking off the 2016 season in Northumberland keen to build on the successes of last year.
Attractions from the north of the county struck gold in the 2015 regional tourism awards and the industry is hoping that will provide a springboard to further glory as this year’s North Tourism Fairs are announced for Alnwick and Hexham.
The annual events are an opportunity to raise the profile of the tourism industry in Northumberland. They serve the many B&B and holiday-let providers around the county, visitor attractions and local service providers to the industry.
The Alnwick Tourism Fair will take place on Wednesday, March 16, at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, serving North Northumberland and the Borders, followed by the Hexham Tourism Fair at Hexham Mart on Thursday, March 17, serving the Heart of Northumberland and the Tyne Valley.
Jude Leitch, director of Northumberland Tourism said: “Last year was another great year for visitors to Northumberland. The county is full of contrasts, a magical place filled with ancient castles, hidden gardens, unspoilt golden sandy beaches, rolling hills, rugged moorland, sweeping views and friendly market towns and villages.
“Small wonder that it remains a favoured location for film and TV dramas. As we prepare for the 2016 season, the North Tourism Fairs are excellent networking events and a chance to showcase why Northumberland is so highly rated as a domestic holiday destination.”
Bruce Hewison, of the Alnwick Tourism Association, said: “The tourism fairs herald the beginning of a new season for many of our members. Holidaying at home is becoming the preferred choice for many people and Northumberland ranks among the best in the country as a destination. Tourism is the second largest employer in the county and plays a vital role in our regional economy.
“Northumberland’s natural assets feature regularly in film and TV, and the Robson Green series has encouraged even more people to discover for themselves the delights north Northumberland,”, adds Jeff Sutheran of the North Northumberland Tourism Association. The recent North-East Tourism Awards, where Northumberland businesses took gold in seven of 11 categories, shows that the region can deliver on quality too. We are looking forward to another busy summer season in 2016.”
Hospitality providers from around the county and the Borders will be welcomed at the events, which will take place from 10am to 2.30pm. Members of the public are also welcome. Refreshments provided by Alnwick’s Olive Branch café will be available throughout the day and admission is free.
“We regularly register more than 100 exhibitors at Alnwick. At Hexham this year, we will have the added attraction of the Meet the Maker event taking place at the same venue on the same day,” said Philip Angier of event organiser, Local Living. “The tourism fairs are a ‘don’t miss’ date in the calendar for accommodation providers to collect information about local attractions for their guests. And they are also a great way for local people to find out about festivals and events in 2016 and family days out.”
Tourism is critical component of Northumberland’s regional economy, contributing 11.8% regional output. It supports directly more than 11,000 full-time jobs in the county. A further 2,200 full-time jobs are supported by indirect revenue from tourism.